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IFC steps up African investments

Published by The Nation on Tue, 30 Mar 2021


By Collins NwezeThe International Finance Corporation (IFC) has made investments in some organisations across Africa, aiming to stimulate the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) and start-up sectors.IFC has backed Savannah Fund, which provides seed funding to start-ups in Sub-Saharan Africa, with focus on female entrepreneurs. Savannahs fund raising generated a total of USD 25 million, with USD 3 million coming from IFC and a further USD 500,000 from the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), also part of the World Bank Group. This will go to businesses in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, with further investments in Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda, Ivory Coast and Ghana all possibilities.Companies in the fintech, logistics, e-commerce, agritech, healthcare and education sectors are the main recipients.Nairobi-headquartered Savannah Fund invests between between $ 50,000 and$ 1 million in early stage technology start-ups in Sub-Saharan Africa.Managing Partner Mbwana Alliy, who co-founded Savannah fund with Paul Bragiel, said in a statement: Savannah Fund II will continue its long-term mission to partner with ambitious founders building start-ups that will scale across Africa. Were especially bullish on start-ups that have the potential to scale beyond the continent and that can expand into Silicon Valley and emerging markets such as South East Asia, Central and Eastern Europe and Latin America.Alliy continued that entrepreneurs, particularly female business founders are a key part of the funds investment strategy.IFC Regional Director for Southern Africa and Nigeria, Kevin Njiraini, addeed: Early-stage funding is vital to enable more of Africas emerging and growing tech founders to grow their businesses and fuel the transformation of Africas internet economy and that the move would enable entrepreneurs to access that funding.
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